CR 57:45-49 (2013)  -  DOI:

The Indian Ocean Dipole as an indicator of climatic conditions affecting European birds

Piotr Tryjanowski1,*, Nils Chr. Stenseth2, Beata Matysioková3

1Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, 60-625 Poznań, Poland
2Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
3Department of Zoology and Laboratory of Ornithology, Palacký University, 77146 Olomouc, Czech Republic

ABSTRACT: Variation in large-scale climatic conditions can have profound effects on local weather patterns and ecological processes. For example, it is well known that a positive shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) during the last 2 decades has coincided with warmer, wetter winters over Northern Europe and advances in spring phenology, including both migration and breeding of birds. However, the effect of the NAO is not evident throughout the Northern Hemisphere and the same is true of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which has been linked to survival of northern birds wintering in Africa. Recently, a growing body of evidence suggests that an independent ocean circulation system in the Indian Ocean, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), is partly responsible for driving climate variability in the surrounding landmasses. The IOD had traditionally been viewed as an artefact of the ENSO system, although increasingly evidence is accruing that it is a separate and distinct phenomenon. Here we present some results on the causes of the IOD, how it develops within the Indian Ocean, its relationships with the ENSO, and the consequences for East African climate dynamics and associated impacts on ecosystems, in particular along the Eastern Arc Mountains of Kenya and Tanzania. In this opinion article we evaluate current research initiatives focused on characterizing the IOD, and examine how effective these will be in determining climate change impacts on East African ecosystems, particularly with respect to avian lifecycles.

KEY WORDS: Climate changes · ENSO · Indian Ocean Dipole · IOD · Migratory path · Large-scale indices · NAO · Spatial-temporal changes

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Cite this article as: Tryjanowski P, Stenseth NC, Matysioková B (2013) The Indian Ocean Dipole as an indicator of climatic conditions affecting European birds. Clim Res 57:45-49.

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